Consistency is RP’s virtue

Updated on May 22, 2007 09:48 AM IST
And the power to strike when matters most will make him a potent force, if given enough chances, writes Atul Sondhi.
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None | ByAtul Sondhi

Five wickets on the dead track of Faisalabad in January 2006, which got him man-of the match award on his Test debut, and four wickets at Karachi in the following test, do go on to show that consistency is the hallmark of RP Singh.

Unlucky RP may have later lost his place to Munaf’s pace, but, to his credit, never lost heart. One of the most underrated of Indian bowlers, RP was lucky enough to continue the Bangla trip after Sreesanth was rule out of the team. And look how he paid back!

The lanky youngster was quick to grab his chances. Two wickets in third over and Bangladesh were suddenly put on the mat by the left-hand seamer – a position from which they could recover only due to the lack of support from other frontline bowler – Zaheer Khan. Bangladesh may have saved the follow on, thanks also to the absence of Kumble, but whatever little chance India now has, it is only due to RP.

Trusted to open the attack along with Zaheer, at the end of the first spell, RP’s figure read 6-1-15-2. A fantastic performance by someone who was just a cover for a mainline bowler, and had not played any international match since October 2006.

Again, when RP was brought in the 23rd over with Bangladesh precariously placed at 57-3, he struck immediately with the valuable wicket of Mohammad Ashraful. A tremendous catch by Karthik, which would not have come about but for the bounce RP was able to extract off the short-of-length spot.

RP did not get any more wickets in that spell, but gave a performance which was even better in terms of economy. His five overs yielding just six runs for one wicket.

On his performance today, RP does deserve more chances in future. An average of 38 runs per wicket before this match against a strong Pak team, may not compare too well with some other bowlers, but he does tend to take one wicket off every ten overs. That is something which India always require from its pace attack.

Even in ODIs, RP’s 24 wickets from 20 matches show the penetration this bowler is capable of.

It is befitting that Bangladesh has given a new lease of life to his fledging career. It was here In 2004 that RP had first come into the limelight during the Under-19 World Cup. His eight wickets a very impressive average of 25 forced selectors to take notice of the new kid on the block.

Given chances in ODIs, he did not disappoint getting a four wicket haul in his very third match against Sri Lanka at Rajkot. Even better was his second four-wicket haul against Pakistan at Multan, which helped India take a winning 3-1 lead in the ODI series, erasing the disappointment of the loss in Tests.

Now as India attempts to resurrect its cricketing aura, with an appetizer in Bangladesh, RP is again coming handy. He is indeed the man for crisis.

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